Laura Ashley has reported like-for-like sales slid 1.3% in the 17 weeks to May 28, due largely to the closure of unprofitable stores.

Total UK sales fell by 4.5%.

The homewares and fashion retailer said sales improved in the second half of this period. When Laura Ashley reported its annual results on March 31, like-for-like sales for the first eight weeks of the current financial year were down by 4.2%. It said better performance in the subsequent nine weeks, the overall like-for-likes sales were reduced to 1.3%.

Online sales were up 6.7% in the 17-week period.

Laura Ashley currently operates 214 stores in the UK and Ireland. In the last financial year, 16 stores were closed. Another three shops have been closed in the current financial year.

Laura Ashley said its continued international growth, operational efficiencies and robust balance sheet will provide a solid base to meet the challenges of the year. It anticipates therefore that full year trading will be in line with expectations.